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This question already has an answer here:

Do:

'I have had that experience'

and:

'I have experienced that'

mean the same thing? Can they be used interchangeably?

Or are they two different things?

For example:

Person 1: Have you ever dated a female cop?
Person 2: Nope
Person 1: I have had that experience / I've experienced that

I've had that experience implies that person 1 was dating a cop at sometime in the past. When is not important. The present relevance of his past experience is what matters (he knows what it's like to date a cop and the sequel of events that one has to go through when dating a cop).

I've experienced that is not even a likely response in this context as far as I think

Experience as a noun means "practical contact with a sequel of events." But as a verb, it means "to go through a situation." So I've had that experience implies that the experience wasn’t, perhaps, a pleasant one. But with I've experienced that there's no such implication.

In this case, I've experienced that is not a likely response because one could normally say "I have done that.” Present perfect is also used for past experience, so there's no need of saying, "I've experienced that,” whereas "I've had that experience" has some nuance.

marked as duplicate by fred2, Community Apr 2 at 16:29

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    When you ask similar questions, you should link to them, lest your question be closed as a duplicate. – J.R. Apr 1 at 22:13
  • @StewartGilliganGriffin It could be that I am dense. But I fail to see a shred of difference between the two sentences. But verbs are present perfect tense. But in the explanation you added in your edit you write: "I've had that experience." That is a different tense than you have in your example tense in your original question. It is the past perfect tense. Did you accidentally leave out "have"? Whether or not "I've experienced that" is a likely response was not your original question. The question was what's the difference in the two sentences. You've not told us as far as I can discern. – Don B. Apr 2 at 14:30
  • @StewartGilliganGriffin Does saying, "I've (I have) experienced that," mean that his past experience is no longer relevant? If so, why? And why would it not be a likely response? Could not a person who "knows what it's like to date a cop and the sequence of events that one has to go through when dating a cop" save "I have experienced that"? Why not? – Don B. Apr 2 at 14:40
  • I don’t think that using experience as a noun instead of a verb implies that the experience is less likely to have been a pleasant one. – J.R. Apr 3 at 11:11
  • I don't know. For whatever reason I've had that experience further drags the speaker away from the experience. Like having had that experience wasn't something he willed. – user88834 Apr 3 at 11:43
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In terms of grammar, these two sentences represent the use of the present perfect tense of two different verbs. "Have had" represents the present perfect of the verb "to have," and "have experienced" is the present perfect of the verb "to experience."

It seems to me that there is no difference between the two sentences in terms of meaning.

  • If my answer is wrong, I would be glad to have an explanation as to why. – Don B. Apr 1 at 21:34
  • I agree with your summary: the two sentences are pretty much identical in meaning. I will add that, in the dialogue given by the OP, I think most native speakers would be inclined to simply say, "Yes, I've done that (before)," and not even bother using the word experience. – J.R. Apr 3 at 13:59
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As @DonB has covered the grammatical difference, I'm going to explain the difference in meaning of person #1 two answers.

First answer:

I have had that experience.

It means that dating a female cop happened to him in the past which led to a gaining of experience in that field. And that he is still having that kind of experience at the present time of the speech occurrence.

Second answer:

I have experienced that.

This means that he experienced dating a female cop in the past and is still experiencing that at the present time of the speech occurrence. Which means, he is still dating female cops or that particular female cop whom he dated before.


Notice that the usage of the present perfect tense indicates an action that happened in the past and is connected to the present by the continuation of that action at the present time

  • The action is represented by the main verb of the tense.
  • Hi. Thank you for your answer. However, your explanations of the two example sentences seem to be saying the same thing to me. If there is any difference in meaning, I don't think it is in the tenses, which are the same. – Don B. Apr 2 at 14:43
  • The first answer doesn't show anything about whether he is still dating cops or not, it is all about the experience itself which he gained in the past. And you are right, it is not the tense that makes the two answers differ, but the verbs in which are used in that tense (had and experienced). – Tasneem ZH Apr 2 at 16:44
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Yes, in your case they have the exact same meaning and which one to use depends on how you want to phrase it.

Person 1: I'm angry all the time

Person 2: I have experienced that anger you feel...

Or

Person 1: I'm angry all the time

Person 2: I have had that experience of being angry...